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Appetite-Stimulant Foods

author image Tara Carson
Based in Richmond, Va., Tara Carson has written articles for editorial and corporate online and print publications for more than 10 years. She has experience as an adjunct professor of nutrition at Northwest Christian University and holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism and nutrition from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Appetite-Stimulant Foods
Large pieces of ginger on a cutting board. Photo Credit: jeehyun/iStock/Getty Images

Appetite loss is a health condition that affects Americans for a variety of reasons, including medication, depression, gastrointestinal illness, cancer and aging. A significant sector of the U.S. population experiences conditions that include appetite loss as a symptom. Stimulating the appetite with particular foods may be necessary to obtain adequate nutrition until concurrent therapies addressing the underlying problem revive a normal desire for eating.

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Herbs and Spices

Flavorful food is important for enticing the taste buds and reviving an interest in eating. Food that provides noteworthy herbs and spices and other healthful additives is particularly significant for those with a reduced appetite if the senses are impaired, which may be the case for the depressed, nutrient-deficient and elderly. Sauteing herbs and spices in olive oil for five minutes prior to combining them with a meal is the most effective way to activate the flavors. Additional flavorings that stimulate gastric secretions and the appetite include lemon juice, ginger, vinegar and bitter herbs.


Bitter vegetables stimulate gastric secretions, inducing appetite activation, according to naturopath Sally James on her website, Consume endive, radicchio and kale to benefit from the bitter compounds. In Ayurveda, an Indian ancient-medical approach, stimulating all senses is important for fostering a healthy desire for food, including sight. Prepare foods with a variety of colors in each meal. A salad or a casserole is an effective culinary medium to execute this principle.

Whole Foods

Whole, healthy foods, such as whole grains, lean organic meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fresh juices clean the body and the digestive tract, which improves metabolism. Avoid processed foods that may clog the digestive tract or result in other health imbalances, such as aggravating the condition causing the appetite loss.

Convenient and Favorite

Preparing foods may seem overwhelming when struggling with an illness. Preparing foods in advance by washing, chopping and storing them, or purchasing healthful prepared foods, such as prepared vegetables and fruits and whole-grain and organic frozen meals, will ease the burden of eating. Include a few favorite foods for inspiration, because familiarity may provide the comfort you need to inspire you to care for yourself.

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